By David Loshin

I recently taught a half-day seminar on an introduction to master data management, and every time I teach that course, I preface the discussion though an informal poll of the attendees with three requests. The first is to differentiate between the attendees who represent the interests of their corresponding organization’s “business side” and those who are on the IT or data management teams.

The second is to identify the attendees who are already engaged in deploying a
master data management activity and those who are still in the planning stages.
The third is an open-ended question: why does your organization want to do
master data management.

In almost every environment, though I have preliminary expectations about the
answers to the questions. Typically, the attendees are largely form the IT side,
about half are actively involved in some aspect of an existing project, and the
overwhelming business driver is “cross-selling and up-selling.”

It is fascinating to me that the focus is almost always on increased revenues
though direct customer contact for two reasons. The first is more of a
philosophical consideration that no matter how “integrated” their data sets are,
most companies have not fully thought out the logistic, process, and change
management issues that must be addressed to enable cross-selling and up-selling.

Most salespeople are conditioned to sell within their comfort zone, and often
will regress to selling what they know and not seek to distribute customer share
of wallet across multiple products. However, this is not a technical issue, but
rather a systemic one, which I promise I will address within this blog series.

However, first things first (or, actually, perhaps second). The second reason is
the plethora of channels for communication with the customer community. In turn,
the different customer contact methods provide different levels of transparency
and obfuscation, leading to challenges with identity recognition, resolution,
validation, and ultimately, authentication.

So in the upcoming postings, we will look at channels, contact mechanisms, and
mapping customer centricity to entity identification and resolution across
multiple, varied channels.


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